There are some things that I’m really bad at sticking with. I will tell myself that I’m not going to eat out anymore, but after a stressful day at work, I will find myself seeking comfort in food. I will decide that I will start my day earlier, but I still end up staying up until 2 am, throwing a wrench in my grand plan. I decide to make my health a priority for me until it becomes too difficult or uncomfortable. Much of the time, I will have a strong resolve until it becomes too inconvenient for me.
This is why I’m absolutely amazed by Nehemiah’s resolve in the face of some serious opposition.
“Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm. And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner. In the same way Sanballat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand.” Nehemiah 6:2-5 (ESV)
Nehemiah had put up with so much over the course of this building project. He had led the people well and had kept everyone focused and on track when it would’ve been so easy to get swayed and distracted. He could’ve picked fights but he didn’t. He could’ve finished fights, but he didn’t. He could’ve tapped out when things got hard, but he didn’t. He endured and this chapter was going to be a huge test of his resolve.
Imagine if someone had been relentlessly coming at you for months. They had been talking down about you, your team, your project, your people, and your God. Yet, you turned the other cheek, trusting God to handle them. But they come to you one, two, three, four, five times with the same request! I probably would’ve said something just to get them to stop and go away.
Nehemiah was resolved to serve the Lord and wasn’t going to be swayed.
Nehemiah had fixed his eyes on God and wasn’t about to turn his back on God or the mission that he had been assigned. He knew who he was and who God was and wasn’t about to be deterred from that. It wasn’t convenient or easy, but he was resolute. He endured.
I can only imagine the battle that was going on in Nehemiah’s mind. He must’ve been fully focused on the Lord and meditating on his Word daily. The temptation to give in to his enemies would’ve been so strong and yet he didn’t waver. I imagine that he had a group of trusted confidants around him to keep him accountable so he wouldn’t be unnecessarily deterred.
Nehemiah was resolved to finish this project and wouldn’t be distracted.
Nehemiah knew that the whole building team was looking to him and would follow his lead. The team was almost done building the wall and they were about to push this impossible task over the finish line. One poorly timed word, one rash action, one improper move could’ve thrown the whole project into disarray, not to mention jeopardizing Nehemiah’s role as governor. He was going to be able to do so much good for the people in that position and he didn’t want to compromise that.
There are a million opportunities for distraction in today’s world. It’s so easy for us to focus on the things that don’t last and don’t matter instead of staying resolutely focused on those things that will endure. Nehemiah was resolute and wasn’t about to be moved from his commitment to God, the nation, and the mission. He was resolute about the right things, and didn’t get caught up in the wrong things—and I pray we would be the same way.
What are you resolute about?
Do you have a tendency to get caught up in the wrong things?
To go Deeper: Read Identifying Out of Whack Priorities, Celebrating Women of the Bible: Zipporah